How long does it take for an aggrieved customer to hold on to a support call before they hang up and then, give up on a brand? Roughly, 60 seconds.
Everything that unfolds next is a tacit chain of events that can bring companies / business / brands to their knees. Customers reach out to support centers to have their issues addressed and certainly not to discuss the weather over a cup of tea. Therefore, it is only justified in their part to expect a prompt reply, rather than holding on for several minutes listening to pre-recorded ‘your call is important to us’ messages.
The question is, if the call is indeed important, why is it taking so long to answer? Why isn’t the time of a customer, who is otherwise assured a zero-hassle purchase, exposed to unnecessary issues, then made to wait indefinitely to have their grievances addressed?
The more a customer is made to wait, more likely they are to abandon carts, leave a nasty review and switch to a competing brand.
Did you know, 83% customers are more likely to shop from a company that offers good customer service and 78% cancel planned purchases after a negative experience.
High Average Wait Time (AWT) in customer support can be potentially lethal for businesses given that it attracts numerous side effects that can cause the market presence of the latter to crumble.
Besides deflated customer satisfaction rate, heavy customer churn, lost loyalty and increased abandonment rates, here are a few other effects of high AWT that are best when avoided –
Missed opportunities of upselling and cross-selling
Inefficient utilization of resources
Lowered employee morale leading to higher turnovers
Did you know, the average cost per customer service call ranges between $2.70 to $5.60.
The AWT Benchmark – The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule owes its origin to the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work. Unique as the principle is, it is now widely applied to the world of customer care in the light of the implication that 20% of resolution time drives 80% customer satisfaction.
Keeping this in mind, the world of inbound BPOs have established 80/20 as their industry SLA standard where, the customer care units are trained and equipped to answer 80% of calls within 20 seconds wait time.
This rule has worked phenomenally well in terms of attaining best possible customer satisfaction, customer retention, improvement of brand loyalty and maximized possibilities of repeat purchases even if concerned customers have faced purchase problems before.
The 80/20 benchmark may be one of the key mantras for business success, but it can be quite difficult to achieve with untrained in-house endeavors. However, if you outsource the task to a dedicated BPO company, they are more likely to pull up your endeavors to eventually reach this golden ratio.
Did you know, that only 16% of customer care BPOs have managed to meet the 80/20 principle so far!
Here’s Why Dedicated BPOs Are Your Best Shot At Taming AWT
Reducing AWT in customer support is an ongoing process that requires a clever combination of technology, process optimization, and a well-trained motivated team of agents. This is something that may take years to achieve through in-house efforts but, can be accessed instantly through dedicated BPOs.
Here’s how BPOs work towards reducing your AWT in the shortest possible time while adding value in terms of cost saving, customer retention, brand image enhancement and driving more sales even through difficult selling periods like peak seasons –
BPOS are always ready with optimized team of agents that are scheduled during peak call times to handle incoming calls promptly. They
often use workforce management software to forecast call volumes and can therefore, schedule agents accordingly.
Routing calls to the right agents with the right skills and expertise to handle specific issues reduces transfer times and increases first-call resolution rates. BPOs use intelligently designed processes to handle skill-based routing successfully.
Technologically advanced BPOs use cutting-edge IVR systems with self-service options that can handle common inquiries promptly, allowing customers to find answers without waiting for agent assistance. This also functions towards keeping abandonment rates at less than 5%, which is a fair measure of high efficiency.
Did you know, about 62% of millennials and 75% GenZ (approx.) prefer self-service over human support interaction.
BPOs are equipped to implement call prioritization based on customer profiles, issue severity, or customer status. This ensures that urgent calls are addressed first. Implementation of call back options helps in reducing AWT significantly.
Like everything else, customer-care landscape is continually evolving as well. Therefore, understanding industry trends, customer expectations and implementing newer technologies and processes is integral to live up to SLA commitments.
BPOs therefore, train and coach agents regularly to update them with industry requirements while improving their efficiency, problem-solving skills, and
communication abilities, which directly leads to faster issue resolution.
Dedicated BPOs use monitoring and analytics tools to track AWT in real time. This allows them to make critical adjustments especially during peak times of the day and peak selling seasons.
Analyzing call data to identify trends and recurring issues is an attribute of smart BPOs. It has been observed that addressing root causes can
reduce volume of calls significantly, which results in lowered AWT. BPOs review and update your customer care processes regularly in order to identify areas
where AWT can be further reduced. This contributes tremendously in saving time, resources and efforts in the part of companies / businesses in gaining and retaining customers while driving sales phenomenally.
AWT – When Less Is More!
AWT are better when lesser. Top performing companies are living examples of why low AWT is important and why all businesses must strive to toe the ratio even if they don’t attain it at the first shot.
There are many companies / businesses that have established their AWT standard at 95/120, which is also brining in fair results in terms of customer retention, loyalty and repeat purchases. An 80/60 ratio is also an acceptable SLA provided it is sustained through peak seasons as well.